“Chillaxing” – a new approach of work-life balance
Opposition politicians are scoffing, fellow party members are grinning and newspaper writers nominate him to be the “Master of Idleness” – David Cameron, Prime Minister of Great Britain knows how to switch off from work. And Dr. Alexandra Beauregard, who is a lecturer in employment relations at the London School of Economics, praises the resident of10 Downing Street for his behavior.
The authors Francis Elliot and James Henning issued an updated version of their David Cameron biography named “Cameron: Practically a Conservative” and are revealing interesting information about how the prime minister chills out, relaxes and spends his weekends: Playing tennis, cooking dinner, having a few glasses of wine and singing karaoke. In times of difficult economic developments this causes a lot of criticism: Doesn’t the prime minister have to give more then 100 percent, working as much as he can, when the country faces a recession and the party experiences a tough time? Experts in topics like work-life balance, as Dr. Beauregard, deny this and show their respect to Camerons way of life. “The more high-pressure your job is, the more important [it is] to take time out and prioritise, not just with family, but to decompress from work, re-energise yourself and go back to work with greater energy, physical and psychological.”
Numerous studies were conducted about work-life balance and its impact on performance of one single and whole organizations. Many results show, that a balance between work and relaxing respectively using the time for other activities is important for sustainable good performance. Long working hours and highly stressful jobs perhaps lead to good results for a short term – but to physical and mental health implications as well. Especially in our times of dual career couples, increasing liabilities in elder care and the expectation of being available 24/7 it is very important to create open spaces for relaxation and personal fulfillment as well as to “blow the cobwebs away”. That’s why Mr. Camerons way of using his leisure time in “chillaxing” to recharge his batteries seems to be exactly the right strategy to ensure sophisticated, meaningful and fast decisions at working time. And isn’t it that what we are expecting from the politicians?